Monday, January 08, 2007

Please don't get wet


First visit to the ocean
Deerfield Beach, Florida, December 2006
[Click all images to embiggen]

That first trip to the beach is a big moment for our kids. As the car gets closer to the beach, the windows and sunroof are open, the music is off, and the only noise is the excited chatter from the back seats. As we crest the bridge over the Intracoastal Waterway, our daughter catches the first glimpse of the water and everyone cheers. A couple of short minutes later, we're parking beside the sand as the kids scramble to undo their belts and sprint toward the pounding surf.

Since it's late in the afternoon and we don't have all our swimming gear, the operative goal of this visit is to get a quick taste of the place. We repeatedly remind them to avoid getting wet. Yeah, right.

My wife and I brought them to this faraway place to allow them experiences they wouldn't otherwise have closer to home. As I wrote yesterday, we often spoke about The Experience, and felt that a quick walk along the beach would be something they'd remember.

They got wet anyway. They wore ear-to-ear smiles. They put aside their sibling rivalry for a little while and just enjoyed being kids. And my wife and I stood back a few feet and watched them drink it all in. Water evaporates and sand can be vacuumed out of the car, but moments like this don't disappear quickly.

As the sun was setting fast, we weren't there for all that long. But it was long enough to enjoy the unbridled joy of kids taking in a unique place. If we turned around now, it would have still all been worth it.

Your turn: Why is the beach such a powerful place for a child? Indeed, why is it such a powerful place for anyone regardless of age?

25 comments:

Cyli said...

the mysteries of the ocean, the incurable sensation of sand beneath their feet and the awesome greatness of a beach are just some of the things that draw kids to them. Those kids are beautiful Carmi. I had to come to your blog today as it is National Delurking Week and you have always been one of my favorite bloggers. I had you on my old site's bloggroll and now I have you on the new Why not Right blogroll. Wishing you andyours a wonderful 2007 Carmi and thank you for always having such a wondrous blog! (((hugs)))

Terri said...

What great photos.....those smiles on their faces are worth a thousand words.
I love the beach and water because I believe it's one of those elements that just brings me back to "basics"....it's authentic and real. And kids know that. That's why they're such a joy to be around...they have incredible energy...just like the water does.

kenju said...

A beach is just so darn big (so much room to run around).

A beach invites you to get dirty (don't kids love that?)

A beach has shells, seaweed, crabs, water = all things kids (of any age) love.

Great pics, Carmi. They will hold the memories in your minds' eye for decades to come.

raehan said...

because it is more powerful than us and yet calming. It is rare to find that combination.

Oh Carmi, your kids are gorgeous. You make me want to have a third.

wende said...

Your kids are too cute...

I spent Seminary hanging out at the beach and it showed up in my of writing during that time. Heh, I once wrote a piece about the Eucharist and God being bits of sand we swallow... Yeah that went over well in class. :D

What always takes me aback, surprises me really, is how overwhelmed I get when I find myself back at the beach after a hiatus. It takes my breath away and there is fear mixed up in the amazement of what I'm seeing. It reminds me of the sensation of seeing a loved one after a long separation--the remembering of their size as you hug them and you realize that they are bigger or smaller or just different than the image you held in your mind when you were gone.

Ok, so that makes little sense... but your post is lovely. Thanks for the read.

Anonymous said...

That top image is just too fabulous!

I love the ocean. Such power. You can feel nature's strength. It draws us to it.

Anonymous said...

I feel as though seeing an ocean is the first glimpse for a child of just how big the world is...it is so grand! It is overwhelming for children and adults alike.

Picturing that the lands in far off places are just like storybooks, what people do across that big ocean but also all the life in the ocean itself. Inside the hearts of kids there is a desire to explore and what better way to do that than gaze out at the water and imagine.

Karen said...

Hi Carmi! I haven't been here in ages. Giving myself a bit of a blogrest, if you know what I mean.

The photos are darling and you have obviously created lifetime memories for you and your children. The ocean is SO amazing. Beyond words, actually.

Hope your 2007 is outstanding!

Star said...

I don't know why it is so captivating. I do believe in the healing powers of the sun amd the sand and the water. Physically and emotionally. Those are great photos.

Anonymous said...

For me it's the feeling of wide open space.

We lack that in our busy lives.

I cna still remember feeling just like your kids - living inland menat that the ocean was so exciting.

Nienke said...

perhaps all that water reminds us of the womb?
I love the beach too. The sound of the waves are so calming.

utenzi said...

There's just something about the ocean that beckons to us. The great lakes of Canada and the US have a little of that attraction but it takes saltwater to complete the picture. I can stand on the beach and watch the waves come in for hours.

Anonymous said...

[unrelated] I know you also like to write about new technology

rashbre

Anonymous said...

It's the Feng Shui thing...To be near water is relaxing and brings us back to the beginning of time when we were all shell like creatures. I love to live near water, which I am now anyway!

~Cathy~ said...

We haven't taken our girls to a real beach yet... but there was one at the campground we went to last year. It was dirty and there were huge mosquitoes buzzing around everywhere.
Certainly not like the beautiful ocean beaches. I hope we can take them to the ocean soon and let them experience what your kids did!

Anonymous said...

Oh my - your children look SOOOO happy!

I guess the ocean is one of those places that really enforces just what nature is. It can be calm and it can be so dangerous.

I can't imagine NOT living close to the ocean. I grew up enjoying the beach and my daughter too loves the beach now, even though we now live up towards the 'pointy' part of Australia. (I grew up right near the bottom of mainland Austalia). There is something so wonderful about having 'freedom' of the sand that goes on and on.

I guess in this country though, something like 90% of the population live within an hour or two drive of the ocean. We're lucky that way. (I probably have the % wrong but I know it is high.)

Nana said...

I have a friend who will be experiencing the ocean for the first time this spring. She's my age (early 40's) and I cannot wait to talk to her after and get her reaction. You can describe it all you want, but it still doesn't come close to the real thing.
I've always loved the ocean -- the sound, the scent, the feel, the sky, everything about it. Living in the Midwest US I don't get there often. A few years back I was able to go to Cape May, NJ in the fall. It was wonderful. I had just completed a year of chemo and radiation and it was a MUCH needed break. I can still feel the breeze and the sand and the water. I think it's just so vast and so eternal that it's comforting. That's my take anyway. Thanks for letting me experience it again through your children :).

Mrs. Fun said...

Carmi, these photos touch my heart.
We lived 10 minutes from the beach for 5 years before moving 400 miles away.
The ocean is soothing. You can dream and dream big at the seashore, it's never ending after all.

Your children will remember this day forever.

srp said...

What draws us to the beach? That sound of the waves crashing into the shore and the sight of the huge dark expanse of water that seems to go on and on forever.

And here it is the (for the most part) empty beaches as the water is too cold for swimming.... unless you are one of the folks doing the Polar Plunge. (OK, it is as polar as it will ever get here right now.)

The looks on their faces is priceless. And if I am not mistaken, you had to get wet to get one of those shots....

Pearl said...

Sounds like a great idea and experience for them. What's more wonderful than happy contended kids?

Snaggle Tooth said...

The ocean means "life" to me, the origin of all life here on Terra.

Why I need to be near it- I feel tied to it, - keeps me sane when I should flip out- even when it's freezing outside, it comforts me...

I love the color of the water in FL- I drove to south Beach in Miami n the Keyes Islands in '01, 1600 miles- those pics aren't online...

rosemary said...

The ocean evokes fear and wonder in me. It is the one place I am humbled, know there is a higher power and can find some peace for some reason. I can't swim, so I respect the ocean and live by its rules...look, don't enter, danger ahead for you, rosemary

Anonymous said...

I love the 2nd picture of the kids that has them all smiling - it's beautiful!

I think to a kid, the Ocean is like a playmate that they haven't seen in a really long time and can't wait to play with.

To me, it's like coming home to an old friend. I can sit and stare at the ocean for hours on end and walk away feeling like I've had a long, cathartic conversation with an old friend.

Anonymous said...

It gets us in touch with our roots. It is, after all, where we crawled out of millions of years ago...

Sorry. I just watched Inherit the Wind last night. I'm on a bit of a Darwin kick.

That Darren Stephens. What an actor.

p

Here via Michele. Lovely kids, bro.

Anonymous said...

The beach is still a powerful place for me. As one who grew up in the cradle of ocean breezes, I suppose it'll always hold something over me.

I always love your photography, Carmi, but I particularly enjoy these images. Sharing a bit of simple joy and family togetherness.